“There’s an increasing body of evidence that investing ethically, with a sense of social responsibility, decreases risk and can increase returns,” says Quintin E. Primo, III, chairperson of the Church Investment Group (CIG). He sees Church Investment Group as a leader within the Episcopal Church in this dialogue and wants his Church to be stronger, “to be all it can be.”
“Through the practice of ethical investment, Episcopal dioceses, parishes, and institutions are able to make their voices and their values resonate in the public square,” said Primo. “Being part of an Episcopal ethical investment group gives voice, visibility, and weight to our deeply held values as followers of Christ.”
An affiliate member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Church Investment Group is part of a coalition of over 300 global institutional investors representing more than $400 billion in managed assets. Leveraging their equity ownership in some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, ICCR members regularly engage management to identify and mitigate social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies.
“The Christian Mission is at the heart of all we do,” said Primo. “Church Investment Group exists to serve the Episcopal Church, to serve the Episcopal mission through better, more efficient, more responsible investment of our corpus. Investment in corporations that have sustainable environmental approaches, conscientious human rights policies, and good corporate governance practices is consistent with our Church’s gospel-centered values.”
Known as “Environmental, Social, and Governance” or ESG investing, this approach traces its history in the United States to the 1700s when the Quaker Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prohibited its members from buying or selling slaves. In the 1920s, mutual funds were created which screened investments like tobacco stocks. These screened investments came to be known as Socially Responsible Investing or SRI. By the 2000s, investors began the proactive approach of analyzing companies for their ESG characteristics and policies.
“Episcopal endowments can harness the power of money to support mission, not just with their annual spending policy, but also with the entirety of their assets,” notes CIG’s President, JoAnn Hanson. “ESG investment approaches identify those companies which have proactive strategies relating to climate change, as well as other important social and governance matters. Investors can profitably invest with proactive companies and influence the behavior of the corporate world.”
A founding CIG board member, CIG’s new Chairman, Quintin E. Primo is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Capri Investment Group, a Chicago-based real estate investment advisor and past trustee of the Church Pension Group. Quintin is a life-long Episcopalian and the son of Bishop Quintin E. Primo, Jr., the founder of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Primo Center for Women and Children in Chicago. Quintin now serves as chairman of the Primo Center.
CIG’s Board also includes Bishops Andrew Dietsche of New York, Gayle Harris of Massachusetts, Mike Klusmeyer of West Virginia, and Neil Alexander, Dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South.
The Church Investment Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity working exclusively for the Episcopal Church. CIG has been designed to allow Episcopal organizations to invest in the same fashion as the largest endowments or pension plans through management by full time professionals who employ a consistent, value-oriented investment philosophy.
Episcopal organizations interested in ESG or ESG fossil fuel-free investing should contact JoAnn Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.